A Chat With Star Soccer Player Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is a star performer. Committed to her craft, Rapinoe is a strong leader on and off the field — a force on the field and role model off.
Soccer News: Megan Rapinoe is one of the best soccer players in the world. Highly respected around the globe, Rapinoe is the reason — many believe — that the U.S. Women’s National Team performed so well in the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. Winning the tournament was important for our country and Rapinoe left it all on the field, helping her team lift the trophy and claim another victory.
Now that the NWSL season has kicked off, Rapinoe made her talents known when she scored a sensational goal that edged her team, Seattle Reign, to victory over the Washington Spirit. Winning the match 2-1 on March 25, 2018, was an accomplishment for the U.S. national team midfielder who needed less than seven minutes to score and then finished up her performance with an assist.
In fact, this Seattle Reign FC forward leads the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Team of the Month, voted by the NWSL Media Association for the month of March of the 2018 NWSL season. Before this, Rapinoe was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week Week 1 of the 2018 season.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week Week 1 of the 2018 season.
More than just a fabulous athlete, Rapinoe is also committed to working with youth soccer players across the country. Rapinoe and her twin sister run a series of youth soccer performance clinics and camps. In addition, Rapinoe has a very cool line of clothing — that not only delivers great goods but excellent customer service and value.
An outspoken advocate for what she believes, here is a quote from her website, “Rapinoe is an advocate for equality in every aspect of the word — women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, refugee rights, and many more forms of equality across our globe.”
GoalNation’s Diane Scavuzzo interviewed Megan Rapinoe, asking her to rate her performance in the She Believes Cup:
Diane Scavuzzo: First of all, congratulations on a great performance at the She Believes Cup.
Megan Rapinoe: Thanks — the tournament was good. I felt like we grew into it.
That’s probably the nicest and best way to say it.
The first game was tough. It was probably one of the most miserable games that I’ve played in, to be honest. It was really cold with sideways freezing rain, so that wasn’t ideal. I think it was tough for both teams, and then a tough time.
We wanted to play better and have a better performance, but I think we put it more so all together in the final against a really good team in England.
Obviously, England has a pretty high profile new coach, so they had a lot of expectations on them and a really strong squad.
We were pretty happy, obviously, to get the win.
I think we had had three trophy opportunities in a row slip through our fingers. This was, even just for a little bit of bringing a mental edge, a big win for us.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you feel about your specific performance? According to U.S. Soccer, you scored one of the best goals in your career against Germany.
Megan Rapinoe: I was pretty happy with my performances in the SheBelieves Cup overall. I think it’s the beginning of the year and really the first meaningful games heading into the NWSL season and I think it’s great to be able to get some really tough competition like this heading into the season.
It’s a perfect little preseason for US national team players to be able to head into the NWSL season feeling good.
I still think there’s always things I can work on for sure.
Definitely, want to keep getting sharper and be a little bit more consistent.
Diane Scavuzzo: As the NWSL league is starting, any thoughts on the Boston Breakers shutting down after the college draft?
Megan Rapinoe: It doesn’t look very good to have a team fold on the verge of starting a new season, and after the draft, and contracts have been signed, and players are expecting to go there. But, I think in the long-term, Boston’s been struggling for a while, and it’s a good thing if they’re not going to be able to keep up with the standards of the league.
As the league grows every year and progresses, and more is demanded of the clubs, and more is demanded of the players, it’s probably a good thing if they can’t keep up with those standards to bow out and let the players go somewhere else and probably have a better experience, and be in a more professional club.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you feel about your club, the Seattle Reign?
Megan Rapinoe: I’m really excited for this year.
Obviously it’s a little unexpected to have Laura Harvey step away, but we got the very next best thing. Vlatko Andonovski is an incredible coach. I know that already without even really having spent time with him, everyone that I trust at least that’s played under him speaks very highly of him. I think it’s a good fit.
We’re coming off two years where we were very disappointed, and it’s not really the level that we want to be at as a club.
I think for him as well, coming off two championships and having the success he did, the last seasons have been pretty disappointing for him as well.
Everybody’s coming in super excited and really hungry. We really strengthened our roster in a lot of ways and filled in some spots that were lacking a little bit last year.
Diane Scavuzzo: On the subject of nutrition and hydration, I don’t feel that our readers take it seriously enough. The articles we do on the topic are always trending and the most read, but I think that youth players as well as adult players — who are not at the top level — don’t understand how their body can’t perform well unless they truly are providing it with the right fuel.
With that preface, can you tell me how you take care of yourself or what lessons you’ve learned on how to fuel your body? What are your favorite nutrition tips?
Megan Rapinoe: Nutrition and hydration and everything you’re putting into your body is probably the most important thing that you can do, which is why I’m so excited about my partnership with BODYARMOR.
I think it’s just a totally natural fit, no pun intended, seeing that this drink is all natural, and that’s really important to me.
When you get to the top level, everybody is talented.
Everybody is special and unique in their own way — It’s the little things that you can do off the field that can give you an edge. For me, I take very seriously my nutrition and my hydration.
I drink BODYARMOR before every training session just to make sure that I’m ready. I want to feel as good in the beginning of the training session or in the beginning of the game as I do after.
It’s all natural products. That’s really important to me.
It’s all natural sweeteners, it tastes good, and it’s something that can top me up throughout my workouts just to make sure that I’m at the level that I need to be. I’m definitely not getting any younger, so anything that can give me a little edge or keep me performing at the maximum that I need to perform to play in the league and to continue to be on the national team is something that I take very seriously.
Pretty excited about this partnership. I think it makes total sense for both parties, and we’re excited to see where it can go.
Diane Scavuzzo: What’s your favorite drink? What’s your favorite flavor?
Megan Rapinoe: That’s tough. I think probably the kiwi strawberry one is my favorites. There’s also a coconut pineapple one that’s really good.
Diane Scavuzzo: A lot of people wonder whether or not a drink can really make a difference. Do you feel the difference? If you just drank water or something different, do you think you would be noticed a difference?
Megan Rapinoe: Yeah, I absolutely feel a difference and absolutely believe that there is a difference.
You don’t get all you need just from water.
The BODYARMOR drink is really high in potassium, low in sodium. It has coconut water, which is really good for you in terms of hydration.
Our season is during the summer as well, and we’re often tasked in playing in Houston or playing in Orlando, or playing back East when it’s sweltering hot. It is important to be able to replace what you’re putting out not only in every training session but throughout the game as well. I feel better in the beginning of the game and then leading all the way to the end of the game when I know that I have prepared my body in the right way. That’s what BODYARMOR does for me.
Diane Scavuzzo: When I interviewed Landon Donovan — when he had briefly retired a while back — he said one of the best things about being retired was that he could eat anything he wanted.
Is there any food that you really love that you stay away from because it’s just not necessarily the best thing for you to eat for performance?
Megan Rapinoe: Yes, fried chicken is one of my favorite things ever, prepared anyway — whether it’s traditional Southern style, or Korean style, or Japanese style.
I’m Italian and both my mom and my dad make amazing pasta. I save that for very special occasions. Then pizza, obviously, that’s an easy one.
For the most part, I think I do a good job of eating healthy but also liking what I eat and making sure that I’m trying to be creative, and keep it interesting.
Diane Scavuzzo: That’s cool. There’s been a lot of talk in the youth soccer world about making sure that young girls have the opportunity to dream big and to be able to reach for their dreams.
Do you think that US Soccer is doing enough to be able to support women’s soccer and girls youth soccer?
Megan Rapinoe: I think that it’s getting there. Obviously, their support and their investment has been there on the boys’ side for a long time.
We’re just now seeing the DA programs for the girls, and I think they are recognizing that this is an area that they need to invest in and an area that is worth investing in.
If you look at the senior team, we’re not only successful on the field, but also in terms of making the federation money. I think they could do more, but I think they understand that as well and are making the investments that they need to.
Diane Scavuzzo: As one final question, what advice would you give a youth player in terms of wanting to follow in your footsteps? What has been the most challenging for you along the way, or what advice would you want to share?
Megan Rapinoe: I would say to always keep an eye on the fact that it is a sport and it’s to be enjoyed, especially at the youth level.
It’s a lot different than when I played since there’s a lot more pressure, and more training, more practices.
It seems a little bit more serious. Just to keep in mind that it is a sport and it’s meant to be enjoyed — and just to be your best you.
I think what that means to me is no one else can do what you do.
No one else is going to be exactly like you. You’re unique in your own way, so focus on that. Focus on your unique talents and what you can bring to the game personally because you’re never going to be anyone else either.
Just to try to maximize what you can do individually and what things you are special and unique in, and bring that to the team.
Be yourself, and enjoy the ride.